LONDON - A British arms dealer paid up to $240 million a year to a Saudi prince who negotiated a huge arms deal for Britain and Saudi Arabia, the BBC reported Thursday.
The British Ministry of Defense knew about the decade of secret payments by BAE Systems to Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who arranged the $80 billion arms deal, the BBC reported.
The prince was the Saudi ambassador to the United States for 20 years. The BAE payments were made into Saudi Embassy accounts in Washington, the BBC reported.
BAE, England's biggest arms dealer, told the BBC it had acted lawfully. Prince Bandar wouldn't comment and British defense officials said the matter was confidential.
The BBC reported that an investigation into the payments by England's Serious Fraud Office was stopped in December 2006.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair wouldn't comment on the BBC allegations but said if the investigation had continued it would have resulted in "the complete wreckage of a vital strategic relationship and the loss of thousands of British jobs."
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